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Five Ways to be more Confident.

HELLO fellow pharmacists and welcome to the eleventh article in the 5W2 series, Five Ways to be more Confident.

As you are probably aware this 5W2 series is a selection of short articles on strategies and techniques to support our emotional development within our professional roles. Previous articles are as follows:

Introduction to the “5W2” series

Five Ways to Manage Stress

Five Ways to Use Mindfulness

Five Ways to Self Coach

Five Ways to Maintain your Energy Levels

Five Ways to be more Resilient

Five Ways to Deal with Bullying

Five Ways to Manage your State of Mind

Five Ways to Enhance your Communication

Five Ways to Create Successful Outcomes.

If anyone would like to read any of the above articles please click on the following which will take you to the articles page on my website

I have been working with younger pharmacists recently and when asked what help they need with their emotional development one of the most common responses is: “ help to be more confident.”

So this article will provide you and others with five simple techniques that you can start using today to will help with your and others confidence.

Before we get into the detail, it’s perhaps worthwhile clarifying some of the wording that is used when referring to overall confidence.

Confidence – is having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.

Self Confidence – is trusting in your abilities, capabilities, judgements and believing that you can successfully face whatever you have to deal with daily.

Self Esteem – is the way you think about yourself and how worthwhile you feel, in other words how much you appreciate and like yourself.

What do all three definitions have in common? Each one depends on how you choose to think about yourself, others and situations. So the impact on our overall confidence is within our control.

Some assumptions I have made in writing this article:

- We are all born with the potential to be confident.

- Based on our life experience to date, we have adopted beliefs about ourself which help us or hinder us.

- The beliefs that hinder us are the ones rooted in some kind of fear relating to our ability to succeed.

- Once we understand what the fear is we can change our thinking about the fear and enhance our confidence.

“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage and confidence in the doing” Theodore Roosevelt

Here are 5 simple strategies to change your beliefs and manage your fears that are holding you back from becoming the confident person you have the potential to be.

- Flip your Focus

- Story Telling

- Body Posture

- Perception Shifting

- Modelling Success

1. Flip your Focus

You get what you focus on, so flip your focus from what you DON’T HAVE to what you DO HAVE. Ask yourself the following questions at least once a month to remind yourself what you DO have.

- What do I value about myself?

- What are my greatest qualities?

- What are my proudest achievements?

As well as the above, flip your focus from what you DON’T WANT to what you DO WANT. Imagine a situation where you want to be more confident but have a fear that is holding you back. eg You want to speak to your boss with confidence about asking for more staff to benefit the department and patients. You may have a fear he/she will turn you down or laugh at you or think it is a ridiculous request. Rather than focussing on the fear (what you DON’T WANT) focus on an imaginary future movie in your mind where you have all the confidence you need (what you DO WANT) and imagine you are sitting in the front row of a cinema watching yourself on screen:

-What are you seeing? (Your body posture, your body language)

- What are you hearing? (Your language, the voice tone, the pace of dialogue)

- What are you feeling? (What sensations do you feel watching this strong, confident character in this movie ie You)

Spending 10 minutes “watching’ this movie and repeating it every day for at least 3 days will make it so much easier for you to get into character and perform for real when you need to.

2. Story Telling

The stories we tell ourselves i.e our selftalk create our thoughts, our beliefs, our attitudes and ultimately our behaviours.

“The way we choose to communicate with ourselves and others ultimately determine the quality of our life.” Tony Robbins

It’s all just words but words can be so powerful. In her book “THINK HAPPY” Karen Salmansohn describes words as having weight as they can drag you down, words as having height as they can lift you up and words having length as they can last a life time.

Our words can inspire confidence in ourselves or completely obliterate it so we need to choose the stories we tell ourselves wisely.

Every story starts with an opening line so try these for size to help create a more confident version of yourself:

“ I am learning to be more confident because I…….

“ I am working towards being more confident by……

“ I see the benefits of being more confident as…

“ I am getting better at demonstrating confidence because I….

“ Today I will motivate myself to show my confidence when I ……

“ Just for today I will be more confident.”

3. Body Posture

If you need convincing that your body posture can create confidence then as I mentioned in my seventh article Five Ways to Manage Your State of Mind, the Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy has the evidence. Amy has studied the positive effects of confident body postures on our hormones. Posture can send messages to the brain that informs you how you feel. So if you want your brain to know that you are confident then walk tall, sit regally and wear a relaxed smile. Click on the link below to watch Amy Cuddy’s brilliant TED talk.

4. Perception Shifting

Hopefully this article as well as previous articles have emphasised that the way we choose to think has the single biggest impact on attitudes and behaviours. We cultivate a feeling of confidence by the way that we think. To give our thoughts the greatest chance of creating an attitude of confidence we need to change our perception of ourselves, others and situations.

A Neuro Lingustic Programming (NLP) technique I use with clients to help them enhance their confidence is “Perceptual Positioning.” This technique helps the client look at a situation they need to have confidence in from 3 positions.

Position 1 – the situation from your perspective

Position 2 – the situation from the other persons/group perspective

Position 3 – the situation from an independent observers perspective

You can use this technique after a situation has happened to review your confidence or before a situation has happened as a mental rehearsal. This technique is particularly helpful at negating the fears that can stop us being the confident person we have the potential to be. Let’s use the example of enhancing your confidence in giving a colleague feedback.

Position 1 – What will you be saying, hearing and feeling when you have all the confidence you need to give your colleague feedback?

Position 2 – What could your colleague be saying, hearing and feeling as you share this feedback?

Position 3 – As an independent observer who is present at the interaction between you and your colleague, what would they see, hear and feel as you confidently share this feedback.

You can do this technique in your head or spend time actually moving around 3 different seats to be clear which position you are in at that time.

5. Modelling Success

NLP modelling is a technique used to help an individual become more successful in any area they choose. I spent a month a few years ago on a modelling project to enhance my confidence in public speaking. Here is a summary of the key steps involved.


- Choose the ability (A) you want to develop. Eg confidence speaking to patients, confidence to deal with people or situations you find challenging, confidence to go for a new position.

- Decide what are the specifics of your chosen “A”. Eg What skills do you want? What mindset do you want?

- Find a “model”. Think of someone you know or you believe has the “A” that you want to develop.


What do they say?

How do they say it?

What do they do physically?

What do they wear?

3. STRATEGY – At this point you can either imagine the answers to the rest of the questions or contact your “model” and ask to interview them. To get the best out of this technique I would recommend meeting up with your “model” and share what you are trying to achieve and why.

When you are “A” what’s important to you?

How do go about being “A”?

What’s the first thing you do? (externally)

What’s the first thing you do? (internally)


What feelings must be present when you are “A”?

What do you belief about yourself?

What is it you get from these beliefs?

I would urge anyone who wants to develop their ability to be more confident at something to think of someone that you belief has what you want to develop and take them for a coffee and ask the above questions and write everything down. The next stage is to practise you're “A” as if you were your model. The more you practise or imagine practising the easier it will be to become confident in the area you desire.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read Five Ways to be more Confident..

The next and final article of 2018 is Five Ways to Develop your Emotional Intelligence and will be with you by the end of December, but in the meantime, if anyone wants to find out more about anything in this article or has any comments please get in touch via the details below.


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